Guest blog by Aurora Sarchet
There’s a story my grandpa used to tell about taking me to the beach when I was small. In the story, I am a tiny child in a too-big T-shirt, but the cold ocean wind can’t cut through my enthusiasm. I scramble over the rocky coastline, turning over stones to look at the creatures underneath. Somewhere in the blurred background, my grandfather stands, cold in his jacket. He lets me look at the miracles under rocks while he shivers, then lures me back to civilization with the promise of hot chocolate.
To be honest, I don’t remember that day from my own memories as much as from listening to my grandfather’s. If I try to pinpoint one moment that my heart for creation began to grow, I can’t. My memories spiral like a kaleidoscope, fragments of experience falling together to create something larger, more lovely. The moments like that day at the beach are the building blocks of the bigger pattern, experiences that allowed me to explore, learn, and grow. Those moments helped shape the way I interact with creation, helped me see God’s world as an expression of his love and character.
I have a busy mind, prone to gnawing worry and overwhelming, swirling thoughts. They fill my mind to bursting, pushing out clarity and purpose. It can feel claustrophobic, like I’m held so tightly inside myself that I’m struggling to breathe. One of the best places for me to combat this sensation is outside. Sometimes when I have a problem to work out, an upcoming change to process, or just want a time to think and pray, I’ll find a quiet place outdoors to rest in.
It’s not a case of sensory deprivation. There are a thousand patterns in the sky, water, and grass to chase; a beetle may unexpectedly land on my leg and take a journey of exploration over the wrinkles of fabric. Somehow, though, being surrounded by life and motion – by material expressions of God’s goodness and power – gives me peace. I am distracted from my tight inner turmoil by the vast goodness of creation. The psalmist writes:
Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O Lord of hosts,
my King and my God.
That’s the way I feel in God’s creation – small, but safe. In finding that God loves tiny beetles and bumblebees, I am more confident that I am loved. The heart for creation that grows in me is a beating reflection of the love God has poured out in my life. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19); God’s love provides the impetus and model for our love to grow. Nurtured by His love, we come to love Him, others, and His creation more deeply. I long to take that love further – both in practical outpourings of service and in taking time to delight in His world. I encourage you to ask yourself how you seek opportunities for love and service, and what that looks like for you. I encourage you to thank the people who helped you learn the beauty of the world, and to pass that love on to others.